David Bunker
Sierra Sun

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April 20, 2006
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Drill bit accident survivor's tale on TV

It has been almost three years since Ron Hunt had an 18-inch drill bit removed from his head, but people still can't get enough of his astonishing survival story.

Hunt's freak accident, a fall at a Truckee construction site that lodged an auger drill bit through his eye socket and out the back of his skull, will be featured in a new The Learning Channel show called "101 More Things Removed from the Human Body." The show will be broadcast nationwide on Sunday night.

The drill bit, which skewered his head after Hunt dropped the drill before falling from a ladder, miraculously pushed Hunt's brain aside as it penetrated his skull. The Truckee resident made a remarkably swift recovery from his 2003 accident.

Sunday night's broadcast " which is not for the squeamish, according to producers " will feature 101 incredible medical stories. But Hunt's is right at the top of the list, said the show's executive producer Bob Niemack.

"It is truly one of the most amazing stories," Niemack said. "It's startling and stunning."

Hunt was flown by Care Flight helicopter to Washoe Medical Center following his mishap, with the drill bit still lodged in his head. When family members saw him in the hospital with an injury that looked like it should have killed him, they were surprised to find Hunt joking and laughing.

"He was talking, telling jokes," Ben Hunt, Ron's nephew, told the Sierra Sun shortly after the accident. "It didn't seem possible for him to be alive, seeing him with a drill bit through his head."

Hunt lost his right eye and had titanium plates placed in his skull after the accident, but was healthy enough within weeks to be interviewed on national news and morning programs.

The calls from radio shows, television programs and newspapers flooded Hunt's phone after a story in the Sierra Sun showed an X-ray of the drill bit impaled through his head, said friend Corrin Keck, who acted as Hunt's publicist.

"It went international overnight," Keck said. "The number of calls he was getting on a daily basis was absolutely overwhelming."

The Learning Channel show will focus on the surgical procedure that removed the drill bit without damaging Hunt's brain. Surgeons actually twisted the bit out of Hunt's head, according to reports following the procedure.

"They're actually profiling the amazing job [Washoe Medical Center Surgeon] Dr. Ludlow and his staff did," Keck said.

The show will feature what Niemack calls a "tasteful recreation of the event."

"We don't show anyone with a drill bit through their head," said Niemack, while warning that some of the medical imagery they show is still "shocking and extreme."

One of the things about Hunt's story that drew producers to his experience was the incredible recovery Hunt made, said Niemack.

"The show is about inspiring stories of people who had extraordinary things happen to them and were able to get on with their lives in admirable ways," he said.

And Hunt is getting on with his life, said Keck. He still works as an electrician in Truckee. Hunt was unable to be reached to comment on the upcoming TV program.

Keck gave Hunt the nickname of "Miracle Man" shortly after the accident. That's because even with all the medical explanations and amazing facts of Hunt's recovery, there is more than a touch of the miraculous in his story.

"Somebody was really looking out for Ron," Keck said.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 20, 2006 03:53PM Published Apr 20, 2006 06:42PM Copyright 2006 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.